We've done a Connecticut scene report before, but the volume of bands coming from this third-smallest U.S. state is incredibly big - so today it merits another look. Connecticut has a long history with metal music, due to the vast number of colleges and radio stations promoting the scene in the eighties and beyond. The Constitution state also has a rich hardcore history that ties in with the metal scene, which dates back prior to the existence of that legendary club The Anthrax in South Norwalk. The classic metal and hardcore shows played there became the subject of the book "Everybody's Scene: The Story of Connecticut's Anthrax Club," which was penned by Chris Daily. Check out that book trailer here. Even the fabulous Forced Reality (a band with members of the now disbanded Skeletal Ambitions) has reformed and is playing oi punk rock again, recently doing a few shows down south. More...
This past week, MetalUnderground.com has largely (and irritably for some,) been discussing the latest Opeth album, "Heritage," which has divided fans with its blend of seventies inspired prog rock. To understand why some fans are so upset about the direction, perhaps it would be best to take a look at the history of the group. Opeth was formed in 1990 in the Swedish capital by vocalist David Isbgerg and guitarist Mikael Åkerfeldt after an argument with former band mates of Isbergs. They soon recruited bass player Nick Döring, drummer Anders Nordin and a second guitarist named Andreas Dimeo, though Dimeo and Döring left the group after their first performance. A number of lineup changes would follow, most notably the inclusion of guitarist Peter Lindgren (who originally joined as a bass player) and the departure of Isberg, with Åkerfeldt taking over vocal duties, in addition to keeping his role as a guitar player. They soon earned themselves a record deal with the then newly formed Candlelight Records and recorded their debut album, "Orchid" in the Spring of 1994, though due to distribution problems, it wouldn’t see a release until the next year. The album was positively received, with critics praising their blend of death metal with acoustic guitars and harmonies.
They soon followed "Orchid" with their sophomore effort, "Morningrise," which garnered even higher praise than "Orchid," allowing them to embark on a tour of the United Kingdom and a large Scandinavian trek with Cradle Of Filth. The growing interest in the band led them to sign with German label, Century Media, who released the groups first two albums in the United States (they had previously only been available in Europe.) Soon after the signing however, the band first parted with bassist Johan DeFarfalla, before splitting with Nordin, leaving Mikael Åkerfeldt as the sole original member. The first band first hired a new drummer named Martin Lopez before recording their third album, "My Arms, Your Hearse," which featured Åkerfeldt performing bass duties, though they soon found a permanent bassist in Martín Méndez. "My Arms, Your Hearse" continued Opeths tradition of releasing albums that were more acclaimed than their last, with many ranking it among their finest albums. More...
It’s Friday and we have new videos from I AM I, Dirty Glory, Jaded Heart, and a very special video clip from Dee Snider. More...
Every week we continue our ongoing quest to get the best pit stories from metal shows. This week Dying Fetus checked in with us to share the following story from the Metal Alliance tour about meeting the "chicken guy" at Sonar in Baltimore:
The Metal Alliance tour came to Baltimore at a club called Sonar. The tour had been going well and the pits were killer for our set. We all come from Maryland so playing Sonar was always a show to look forward to.
When ever you play at Sonar or in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. area you see the chicken guy. I don’t know this guys name but I know his look. He wears a chicken costume to every show in the area. The chicken guy is killing it in the pit for all our shows. You cant miss the guy crowd surfing. This guy even gets applause from the crowd. Way to be chicken guy cant wait to see you again!
Dying Fetus will be releasing new album "Reign Supreme" this coming June 19th, 2012 via Relapse Records. The band will also be hitting the road throughout the entire summer, icluding an appearance at Maryland Death Fest as well as the "18 Nights of Blood Tour" in North America with label mates Revocation and Six Feet Under.
Dying Fetus will also be on a headlining tour of Europe which includes appearances at the "Copenhell Festival" in Copenhagen, "Hell Fest" in France, the "With Full Force" festival in Germany, "Sevilla Rock Festival" in Spain and the "Getaway Rock Fest" in Sweden. You can check out studio footage from the band's time recording new material, as well as find a listing of upcoming tour dates, at this location.
Be sure to check back in again next Tuesday as we share more mosh pit stories from metal bands around the world.
Just across the causeway from Singapore sits the Malaysian “small town” of Johor Bahru, though its population of nearly 1.5 million shows us just how the Western definition of “small town” differs from that of deepest, densest Asia. Thanks to its proximity to the Lion City, just about an hour’s drive away including the time it takes to cross the border on a good day, JB presents a great opportunity for bands touring in Asia to cross another country off their list of places played without traveling too far, and to get an excellent introduction to the Malaysian scene. Here are three hardworking bands currently plying their trade in the southern gateway to the Malay Peninsula. More...
The month of May marks a couple of pivotal moments in the history of one of America's most classic power/thrash bands, Metal Church. It was in May of 1984 that the band played its first gig at the D&R Theatre in Kurdt Vanderhoof's native Aberdeen, Washington. It was also in May, nearly seven years to the day, that the metal world lost one of its most iconic metal singers - original Metal Church vocalist David Wayne. In this homage to the Seattle band, we will look at the history of this venerable old school band and how it ties in with so many other acts while fulfilling its history. We will also bring you the rich history that Metal Church and all of its offshoots have lived through. Because, with Metal Church there is six degrees of separation from several other groups.
Back in the late seventies, Aberdeen's son Kurdt Vanderhoof was living in the San Francisco bay area. He played for a hardcore punk band by the name of The Lewd. As he started listening to the early prototypes of the British invasion of metal, he had an epiphany. Kurdt decided he'd rather start playing metal music, so he began talks with a few of the members of another San Francisco act - Leviathan. Together they formed Anvil Chorus - The Church of Metal, later shortening it. The rest of Leviathan left and formed Vienna. More...
Steven Adler (ex-Guns N’ Roses) is back with his new band named Adler and a new single titled “The One You Hated.” The band insists that the band is about a man/woman relationship and not what we all assume: heroin. Of course, I guess it could be about Axl Rose as well, or maybe the song is about Steven from the mindset of Celebrity Rehab’s Dr. Drew. Either way you look at it, Steven has an impressive memory catalog to pull inspiration from… More...
Colombia just might be one of the forefathers of the extreme metal scene and it may have influenced some of the most nihilistic groups to come out of Europe. Yes, this South American land of extremes may have been one of the catalysts for the Scandinavian scene, ushering in a whole horde of sick and twisted metal bands. You may think that's an incredulous statement to make and a mighty tall order, but wait. There's a true story I am going to recount for you now.
Back in 1992, a few Colombian metal fans/musicians went up from Stavanger, Norway to a record shop in Oslo owned by Oystein Aarseth (better known as Euronymous). As they were going through the releases, they struck up a conversation with Euronymous about the country they were from, black metal in general and their respective bands. Euronymous became animated and said "Two bands from your city of Medellin influenced Mayhem's sound."
"Parabellum and Reencarnacion were a few of the true bands that shaped us. They captured a hellish environment and represented a true hardcore, evil sound that we emulated in the band."
Spoken by Euronymous himself a year before he died in infamy, and put in Spanish on the liner notes of the 2005 compilation "Tempus Mortiis" put out by Blasfemia Records. This anthology featured Parabellum, a nihilistic affair redolent in that evil backwards riffing that characterized the band. Songs such as "Engendro 666" and "Madre Muerta" influenced Mayhem and other Norwegian bands and helped create a whole genre of evilness, blasphemy and sickos.
At the time, neither Parabellum nor Reencarnacion were satanists, but critiqued Christianity and Catholicism and played an early prototype of metal that predated the "black" genre in 1981 (with the exception of Venom) and was called "ultra" metal or "anti-technical" metal in Colombia since it was raw and primitive musicianship. Kreator, Beherit and Impaled Nazarene have also paid homage to them in one form or another. More...
For many, the band Ugly Kid Joe was the group on MTV with videos for “Cat’s In the Cradle” and “Everything about You,” but there was more, trust me. They landed in a strange time (right at the start of the grunge nineties) and had a song picked up by a major movie, giving them immediate success. Then, despite this good fortune, the band was unable to keep their momentum (again, blame the nineties – damn you Cobain!) and flamed out rather quickly, leaving us with a limited catalog of three full albums. However, that may change soon... SPOILER ALERT: Ugly Kid Joe is coming back!
Initially, the band used the name Ugly Kid Joe as a parody of the band named Pretty Boy Floyd, and then it just stuck so they kept it. Their first EP was titled “As Ugly as They Wanna Be,” again another parody, this time a take on 2 Live Crew’s “As Nasty as They Wanna Be.” It was clear from the start that this band wouldn’t take themselves too seriously; the music was a mix of hard rock, funk, and glam, though mostly hard rock as they were heavily influenced by Black Sabbath. The current lineup of Ugly Kid Joe is Whitfield Crane (vocals), Klaus Eichstadt (guitar), Cordell Crockett (bass), Dave Fortman (guitar), and Shannon Larkin (drums). More...
Swedish rockers H.E.A.T. have released a video for “Living on the Run” from their album titled ‘Address the Nation.’ As with most rock bands from Sweden, H.E.A.T. have a sound that may be referred to as “1986.” Yes, love it or hate it…let’s take a trip back to 1986! More...
Each week we chat up bands and fans from all corners of metaldom to get their favorite pit stories from live shows. This week guitarist Fack of French death grinders Infected Society shares two memories from the pit, including the following tale of reverse sexual harassment:
When we played in Finland, with some of my previous bands, the boss from our label had a ferocious argument with a guy from the audience because of of the guy’s gorgeous girlfriend. Why? Not because his girlfriend was seriously looking after the label’s boss, but because he was trying to refuse to fuck her. Her boyfriend, a colossus, was really angry someone could refuse to fuck his girlfriend. So the label’s boss had to explain that he was married, with children. But it seems it wasn’t a good excuse enough to the angry colossus, so he had to explain, again, that “no, seriously, you’re girlfriend’s absolutely sexy and beautiful, but I’m married, with children and that, despite his girlfriend’s so hot, he can’t cheat on his wife” to save his life.
Another one? Well. With one of my previous bands, which I won’t name, the singer was so drunk at a gig that we had to play the same song twice because it was on the set list and the singer wouldn’t believe we were just finished playing it, having no memories of the few previous minutes. The crowd was dead laughing, such were we! Encore fait!
Infected Society recently premiered the new song "Victims of Procreation" online, which can be heard at this location. The band will be releasing a debut MCD through Kaotoxin Records this year, and more details on the band can be found via the Infected Society Facebook profile.
Feel free to share your favorite show experiences below, and check back in again next Tuesday as we share more mosh pit stories from metal bands.
A couple of weeks ago I had the chance to tour around Asia with my band for eight days, stopping in seven cities. One of the highlights of the tour was Hong Kong, not just for the great crowd, but for the excellent bands I and my band mates had the privilege to share the stage with. Here’s a quick intro to those bands in this week’s edition of Unearthing the Metal Underground:
Melody, abject brutality, and paramount evil. This is the formula that death metal four-piece Elysium has adopted as its own. Featuring some of the most earthy and natural guttural vocals this side of Incantation and Immolation, along with the occasional elongated pig squeal thrown in for good measure, Elysium has been plying its trade for a few years in the Hong Kong scene, and has managed to make its way to foreign shores at least once, having played at last year’s Drown In Metal Festival in Kaohsiung in southern Taiwan.
While technical, Elysium manages to keep its songs memorable without compromising brutality—no mean feat. Slams and pinch harmonics are put to good use, but not overused, and the band knows how to employ versatility while still maintaining a discernable sound. Currently, the only way to hear Elysium’s music is to pick up a demo from them at a show or check out the band’s Facebook page.
Previously in Sunday Old School, we've looked at several big names in thrash metal from all over the world. These include two of the "Three Kings" of German thrash, Sodom and Destruction. This week we'll be completing the trilogy by taking a look at Kreator, arguably the most well known of the three. Kreator were formed in the city of Essen in 1982 by vocalist/guitarist Mille Petrozza and drummer Jürgen 'Ventor' Reil, originally using the moniker, Tyrant before switching to the name, Tormentor, under which name they released two demos which attracted the attention of Noise Records, home of such other notable metal artists as Celtic Frost and later Sabbat. It was the label’s suggestion that the band change their name, due to the company already having a band from Hungary on their books called Tormentor, and so the German thrashers settled on Kreator instead. The band recorded their debut album, "Endless Pain" in only ten days, featured had a more proto-black metal sound, similar to what Sodom were doing at the time. "Endless Pain" was released in 1985 and was soon followed by the groups sophomore effort, "Pleasure To Kill," which is now considered something of a thrash metal classic and a clear influence of the burgeoning death metal genre. The success of the album led them to embark on their first ever tour (having performed only five gigs before it’s release) and soon they followed with their third record, "Terrible Certainty," which like its predecessor was critically acclaimed and warmly welcomed by underground metal fans, owing in part to the songs, "Behind The Mirror" and their first music video for "Toxic Trace," as well as a strong cover of the Raven song, "Lambs To The Slaughter."
They then focused on breaking America with their next effort, "Extreme Aggression," which was produced by Randy Burns, notable for his work with established metal bands such as Megadeth. "Extreme Aggression" became a hit in Europe and helped to achieve their goal of penetrating the American market when the music videos for the song, "Betrayer," as well as the title track received regular airplay on MTVs Headbangers Ball, before touring North America for the first time with Suicidal Tendencies. The band soon released a fifth album entitled, "Coma Of Souls," which, while praised by many, failed to gain the same recognition that previous records did, with some feeling that the album sounded rushed, though it still managed to sell quite well and spawned two singles in "People Of The Lie" and "When The Sun Burns Red." More...
Van Halen has released their second single titled “She’s The Woman” from their latest album ‘A Different Kind of Truth’, this song is one of the six new songs that were based on older material. Here’s a look…
The video starts with classic slide moves of David Lee Roth and a smiling Eddie Van Halen. Everyone having a good time? Roth follows up with his version of working the pole.
0:43 Roth shimmying across the stage as the Van Halen boys look on, is Roth entertaining the audience or the band? Sometimes it is hard to tell. I guess that’s why Diamond Dave is often referred to as an entertainer first.
The video is the band playing their small come back show at Café Wha? in New York City combined with other stages (appears to be same stage as first video “Tattoo” in a lot of shots) and still photos moving across the screen.
1:11 David Lee Roth deep in thought or trying to remember the lyrics? Discuss amongst yourselves…
1:29 A still shot of an airborne Roth. Probably not recent, but still awesome!
FAVORITE YouTube comments: 3) “She's? the Wombat!” by k4cper3k 2) “no videos should contain lots of? still photos or overalls” by changeofaddress1 and 1) “cool, but who is the new young bassist? !!” by ccbbom.
1:44 A Kodak Gallery of still shots, then we get a look at Eddie Van Halen in red pants. Good to see he still has a little flare, and is not ALL frayed sweatshirts and jeans.
2:10 Was that an album promo in the middle of the video? A distraction or genius? Discuss amongst yourselves…
2:16 Roth using his scarf to “cool down” Eddie during a guitar solo.
2:48 An ass cam (we know because it says ASS CAM) displaying what appears to be a revolver tattoo on Roth’s ass!
2:55 “Thank you very much. Yeah!”
Every week we check in with bands and fans everywhere to get their most memorable mosh pit stories from metal shows. After our last story about romance in the pit, this week guitarist Rafaël Sellekaerts of Belgian act Dehuman shares the following tale of learning a lesson about drinking before a gig:
During a nice yet stormy road trip to Oostende (Belgium coast), our guitarist, Mathias, aka “The Guilt Grinder,” had the great idea to drink a whole bottle of whiskey. It’s pointless describing how drunk he was when we entered the stage, having to play his replacement guitar because he tried (and failed) replacing a broken string on his main guitar while in the car, leaving it unusable.
If I can remember well, it obviously took him only two songs to break a string from the then only playable guitar left after we started our set due to his totally drunk stage dancing. He then handed Adrien, our roady, the guitar for he could replace the string, which literally took him three songs, during which Mathias took over the bass, leaving Andréa (bassist/singer) singing and crowdsurfing to attract the public’s attention so they couldn’t really notice how… er… intense and… er… unforgettable Dehuman was during that time.
Sure we had a good laugh during that gig and afterwise. But we had to learn a lesson from it, which we still obey as an eleventh commandment since then: be drunk, but stop drinking alcohol two hours before the gig! Stay sick and brutal motherfuckers, thanks for the support!
Dehuman will release debut album "Black Throne of All Creation" on April 30th, 2012 through Kaotoxin Records. To get a sneak peek of the album, check out the song "Cast of Assassination" by clicking here.
Check back in again next Tuesday as we continue to share more pit stories from bands across the world.
When looking at the El Salvador metal scene, it is shocking coming to the realization that a country this small has close to ninety metal bands. Two of the ones I have unearthed today are not even in the Encyclopaedia Metallum archives, which shows how fast the scene is still growing. El Salvador has only a few dozen less bands than its significantly larger neighbor a couple of countries over, Costa Rica.
One of the first nationally renowned Salvadorean metal bands was B'rock (later known as Broncco). B'rocks polished power metal sound laid the foundation for future generations of metal bands in El Salvador. The group disbanded in 1996 due to founder Vicente "Chente" Sibrian's degenerative illness, but he is viewed as a godfather in the scene still. He recently appeared at the Maaskab Open Air and other festivals in his wheelchair, to the chants of all the concert goers. Watch a video montage done in homage for Sibrian to the Broncco track "Vendedor de Suenos" by going here. More...
Many of the world's top guitar shredders fit into two types of personalities. There are the overindulgent ones with inflated egos and there are the ones with quiet self-confidence that are in it because of their love for metal music. Jeff Waters of Canadian band Annihilator fits into the latter category. He lets others put him in their charts for top guitar players in metal while he quietly goes about pursuing the field that he loves - creating music with his band and others.
Jeff loves what he does, for he's been in it for over 28 years since Annihilator put out its first demo "Welcome to Your Death" in 1984. That, and the subsequent couple of demos released, were among the top traded demo tapes in the mid eighties - giving even Metallica and Megadeth a run for their money. In the early incarnation of Annihilator, Jeff had John Bates on vocals and went through quite a few musicians in the rhythm section, even replacing Bates with Randy Rampage from D.O.A. The problem was that the band members liked partying and going to clubs, leading to the turnover. More...
I picture Vince Neil kicking it in his backyard with a couple of buddies (and a couple of groupies, one young, one looking somewhat weathered), sharing a joint and several Budweiser beers, when someone leans in and asks Neil, “So, what’s next?” Vince ponders the rock and roll bar, his tequila business, the tattoo shops, and the charter airline business. Vince takes a long pull from his can of Bud and his eyes open up wide. More...
Every week in Unearthing the Metal Underground, we take a look at three quality bands that haven't gotten as much exposure yet as they should. Last week, we exposed three metal bands from Pakistan and we continue in something of a similar vein this week, turning our attention to another Islamic country, though this time in North Africa, namely Morocco. Morocco had something of a controversial encounter with heavy metal music, when in 2003 more than a dozen heavy metal fans were jailed in the city of Casablanca for "acts capable of undermining the faith of a Muslim" and "possessing objects which infringe morals." The Moroccan courts felt that the black t-shirts adorning heavy metal logos worn by these young men, all of whom played in metal bands themselves, were Satanic. However, after global outcry from musicians and human rights activists, they were released and today, Morocco sees more bands performing hard rock and heavy metal music. This week we will be looking at three such groups.
Formed in early 2006, Analgesia created a blend of groove metal with classical elements, fusing black metal vocals with a more operatic female counterpart. They released their first record, "Return to the Self" the same year and gained quite a following amongst metal fans in Morocco. They have performed at some of the biggest festivals in the country including L’boulevard and have since released two more albums, "Era of the Storytellers" and "Beyond Illusion."
Analgesia - "From The Ashes Of Morocco"
The wonderful thing about the thrash metal movement is that there were so many bands to find, it really is something of a treasure chest. Today we’ll look at a band which released some of the finest albums known to speed and thrash metal, but arguably haven’t got the recognition they deserve, Heathen. Heathen was formed in 1984 by former Metal Church drummer Carl Sacco and Russian guitarist Lee Altus and were initially accompanied by vocalist Sam Kress and guitarist Jim Sanguinetti before replacing them after their first gig with David Godfrey and Doug Piercy respectively, whilst also bringing in bass player Eric Wong. Although from the Bay Area and often associated with the thrash metal scene at the time, their music wasn’t strictly speaking contained in the thrash vein, as they also demonstrated more of a New Wave of British Heavy Metal influence than many of their peers. Although Wong decided to leave the group after the recording of their first demo, "Pray For Death" (being replaced by Mike "Yaz" Jastremski,) the demo was something of a success and earned the band a deal with Combat Records.
Their debut album, "Breaking The Silence" was released through the label in 1987 and was hailed as one of the best thrash metal albums of the year. It also contained something of a hit single in "Set Me Free," a cover of a song originally by British glam rock legends The Sweet. The song received regular rock radio airplay and the video was also broadcast frequently on MTVs Headbangers Ball show. While touring for the album however, Heathen ran into some internal difficulties, resulting in Sacco, Jastremski and Godfrey all leaving the group at some stage. Several well known vocalists were a part of Heathen for a while, including former Exodus frontman Paul Baloff and ex Metal Church singer, David Wayne. More...